Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Materials 2015, 8, 3519-3531; doi:10.3390/ma8063519


© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license


A nanoscale representative volume element has been developed to investigate the effect of interphase geometry and property on the mechanical behavior of silica/epoxy resin nanocomposites. The role of interphase–matrix bonding was also examined. Results suggested that interphase modulus and interfacial bonding conditions had significant influence on the effective stiffness of nanocomposites, while its sensitivities with respect to both the thickness and the gradient property of the interphase was minimal. The stiffer interphase demonstrated a higher load-sharing capacity, which also increased the stress distribution uniformity within the resin nanocomposites. Under the condition of imperfect interfacial bonding, the effective stiffness of nanocomposites was much lower, which was in good agreement with the documented experimental observations. This work could shed some light on the design and manufacturing of resin nanocomposites.